Arabic studies

Discussion in 'Language Notes' started by Unbeknown, Sep 29, 2013.

Draft saved Draft deleted
  1. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

  2. nurideen

    nurideen New Member

    InshAllah its attached now, the translator has actually translated many other grammar book as well, but most of these are only accessible to lisanularab forum members, there is an intermediate book by the same author (birgivi) at the level of hidayatu nahw that is also translated(known as idhar al asrar) i can upload here if anyone would like.

    Much like the 5000 common words dictionary i mentioned, I think ive found a way to form my own frequency tables of classical arabic text(hadith compendiums/tafaseer etc..) This corpus contains the files in plain vowelised text. this is the manual listing all the texts used for the corpus. and this is a software used to manipulate the text (ive yet to try it) I think its possible to order the words of the entire corpus (50 million words) by frequency, and learn vital vocabulary in this manner.

    Attached Files:

  3. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    okay, now my arsenal consists of the following:

    1) First three videos from the toronto series of madina arabic
    2) Arabic Grammar of the Written Language- W. Thatcher, 2nd ed.
    3) Elementary Arabic A Grammar- Frederic Thronton
    4) A Grammar of the Arabic Language-
    translated from the German of Caspari - W Wright, 3rd ed.
    5) Kaif nat uloom, the colorful book
    6) Palestinian school books grades 1-10
    7) Translated books of Kamil Kilani
    8) Colloquial Arabic (Levantine)- L.J McLoughlin
    9) Al-Mawrid- Dr. Rohi Balbaaki
    10) A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic- Hans Wehr
    11) Lane's Arabic Lexicon (complete)
    12) A few more dictionaries as software apps.
    13) Al- Awamil (coming soon)

    @brother nurideen:

    click 'post reply' then in 'additional options' click 'manage attachments' then click 'upload' and in the new window browse to the folder that contains the file you wish to upload and double click it, once it shows in the 'manage attachments' window click 'close this window' then 'submit reply'.

  4. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Oh didn't know the about the video series, i assume you're referring to the LQ Toronto series?

    hope the gale isn't blowing towards the arabian sea . . . .
  5. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    one fundamental precept that we can agree upon is that everybody has their own way of learning. one size will never fit all. i looked into the madinah course only after i chanced upon them in a bookstall a couple of years ago. putting myself in an absolute starter's shoes (because i am already in the beginner stage) i suppose that it is helpful for non-arabs just as the title announces: "arabic for those who don't speak arabic (as their native language)".

    the author is doing this deliberately and he explains why verbs are introduced much later. remember that it is a book intended for those who are learning a foreign language. the natural way of learning is to do it the way kids learn: one step at a time. i assume that is the logic behind the staged introduction of particles which you have found sporadic and disorganised. it may be boring for some, but in my experience most indo-pak students who read english can learn a lot with this series - particularly, if you have an engaging teacher (like that in youtube vids. by that genial gent who has taught the whole series).

    i will concede that the books are judged best by those who are indeed starters; not mere pretenders.

    yes, as long as they are not sneering on the nuHat. read the preface of sharH miat aamil by lockett and you cannot help feeling disgusted at the temerity to criticise a jami or a jurjani for their ability to teach grammar and which also illustrates the orientalist ethos vividly: only the white man from the west can do things right and proper, even if he is not the first to have discovered it.

    reading books like arbayin an-nawawiyyah, aadab al-ishrah, bidayatu'l hidayah, tibyan etc will do many things at the same time: teach you something that is useful and language; plus the bonus of being in the state of dhikr.

    learning arabic 'words' is not quite effective after one stage. english is tedious in this department. one has to remember/memorise thousands of 'words' to build a sound vocabulary. various methods to improve vocab exist and reading classics or good writers is best (because it also hones usage.) another 'fun' method is to build vocabularies by etymology - word power made easy by norman lewis used to be a popular title. unfortunately, etymology in english is not standard compared to arabic, where all you need to know is how to do taSrif, and apply it on the root instead of remembering the spellings and meanings of fifty words, you can do it more efficiently with taSrif; with the added benefit of a built in spell-check.[acknowledging that the eccentricities of english spelling are mainly due to roots from different languages: saxon, german, latin, greek etc.]

    you will have to learn taSrif only once - it is like learning to ride a bike. and then take any word and apply that transformation to derive the appropriate word. and going to the root of the matter literally - so to speak - is the key to mastery of the language.

    you can verify this easily. take a famous arabic poem or widely read text and check if those words are found in the top 5000 list.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
  6. nurideen

    nurideen New Member story AND collection:opensource Not sure if you saw this, but there is a few more of them translated. Although id advise to avoid translations, they really give narrow definitions often, which wont help when you see the word again in a different context. Learning basic sarf to make use of a dictionary will be very effective in learning vocab, searching words will help you develop your understanding of the root system and the various meanings that can be derived from a single one.
    I cant seem to work the attachment function to upload al-awamil (if anyone can help)but id be happy to.
    Brother Qasim, these books are written in pure fusha and encourage vocab development. What are the books in the dar e nizami that are used for this function? I only know of taleem ul mutaalem, but that isnt suitable for a beginner.
    brother Abu Hasan, id have to disagree with you regarding the Madinah books, personally I think they stinted my growth. they seem very counter intuitive to me, rules are introduced after examples of those rules. particles are introduced sporadically with no organization, id much prefer learning all the huroof jarr together rather than encounter two in lesson 3, then four in lesson 17 etc... but I agree the Orientalist do a good job generally.
    Id highly highly recommend ''a frequency dictionary of arabic'' (can be found online) it gives the 5000 most common words from a corpus study of 30 million words, along with examples of their uses. In the preface I read that studies on the english language showed the 1000 most common words account for 85% of all words in literature, with the top 4000 = 95%, so if it applies to arabic it would help greatly to go through the text
  7. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    @ brother QRH
    Jazakallah for your advice and offer. I am in india and also in touch with few good scholars. but the problem is that all of them can teach in urdu only and i don't know urdu. I mean, i speak urdu and can read it with effort but haven't undergone schooling in it. Most of the scholars recommend me to first learn urdu then arabic as according to them there are many excellent books to learn arabic once you can understand urdu. Urdu is on my list of to-dos but i wish to learn arabic first. lets see.

    Another problem with attending tutions is that it will need a fixed time-table and for the next 6 or 7 months i won't be feasible for me. But my intention of going for story books is that i won't need to take them as lessons and can use them during my leisure time to get atleast some familiarity with the language. Dedicated study will be the next WILL. inshaAllah.

    @shaykh abu Hasan

    Jazakallah for the links and advice. Downloaded those books. will start self-study soon. let you know when i reach sibawayh :)
  8. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    you will probably like this: palestinian textbooks for teaching arabic - i assume for 1-10 grades.

    i only recently came to know of madinah books - a couple of years if i am not wrong; but i think it is very scientific for ajamis and follows a natural learning method.
    actually, it is the basics and a number of apparently quirky rules that will frustrate you in the future, if you are not patient with a book like madinah-series. if you take arabic seriously (and are not satisfied with: fi malum/ma fi malum) and hope to read advanced books, don't expect to find the number-gender correlations etc. explained in detail therein.

    another colourful book can be found here:

    but i still prefer the shuruh of ajurrumiyyah, hidayah and kaafiyah. a number of orientalist works are also useful, chiefly thatcher, thornton and wright.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
  9. My dear brother my sincere advice is don't waste your time with these story books learn from a qualified 'Aalim of the Dars e Nizaami.

    The books of the 'Aalim course are the best if you want to understand Qur'an, Ahaadith and the books of the Islamic sciences.

    If you tell me where you are I may be able to recommend a scholar in sha Allah Tabaarak wa Ta'ala.
  10. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Jazakallah for your suggestions. Found Kamil Kilani alright. Kilani's seem to be like these comics , widely read throughout India, which helped me a great deal in improving my vocab and grammar. But this is just what i had in mind! Wish there were more.

    As for al-awamil, i wonder if you are allowed to upload it here as i couldn't download it for lack of membership. And i won't ask for that diagram you've made, i think that would be cheating.........
  11. nurideen

    nurideen New Member

    Yes I agree with you regarding the 'Madinah books', as with a lot of people they too where my first experience with arabic, but as I studied more I really came to dislike them and the way they are organized. The books weren’t even intended to be studied in english, and I understand the actual Madinah arabic course has additional books they use so it’s understandable the 3vol standard books are not up to scratch. Just by way of example it isnt until vol3 that your even told the 9 nominatives (marfuaat) etc.. I think arabic grammar can be taught very easily if a map/structure of the language is introduced to the student, I think this should be taught separate from vocabulary building and literature, the latter should be done with a competent teacher where the rules learnt of grammar and morphology are applied directly with the teacher guiding the student and correcting until this becomes second nature to the student.
    For grammar purposes I thing al-awamil of birgivi is perfect, it has even been translated into english by a brother on the lisanularab forum. It is very short but beautifully concise, the entire book can be made into a diagram (which i did) and easily memorised, with a good understanding of this text and some simple morphology I think it’s enough to begin to start reading short simple texts
    There are many books that can be read depending on what your interested in, different curriculums in the arab world can be found online, and so if you like history for example you could go through the texts, from yr 1 - 6/7 . There are also many arab childrens writers, I like the books of kamil kaylani, they’re fable type stories but excellent for vocabulary building, I would also recommend سلاسل القراءة a progressive reading series , its in 6 parts and starts off very easily but builds to a high level of arabic.
    I find it very depressing that people think Arabic is too difficult to learn, but im also upset by these online teachers popping up here there and everywhere charging exorbitant prices. I have incidentally had direct experience with many of the known online teaching sites and was disappointed by most of them.
  12. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator


    Can you recommend some really engaging books that don't start with boring words and sentences? I mean i sure didn't like 'madina arabic' by V. Abdur Raheem. Are there books that start with interesting passages, quotes, anecdotes and build vocabulary and grammar as one goes along?

    I find "This is a house" and "That is a boy" too boring and that's why all my previous attempts have lost steam after the first couple of pages. I think, at least for grown-ups, such an approach is highly off-putting.

    You see i can understand more than 90% of the Quran without the need of translation (Alhamdulillah!) and even some oft-heard ahadith. I achieved this in just ONE month, here's how:

    During ramadan i would read one juz and simultaneously read its translation (by A. Yusuf Ali), which is not a word-for-word translation, so i would have to guess the meanings of the words not much unlike 'match-the-columns'. Then i would revise all that during the tarawih and over time all the words' meanings sort of stuck in my mind and now i can understand most of the verses without conscious effort.

    Of-course i'd read the translation a few times before but then i hadn't attempted to remember the meanings. But the above achievement amazed me. As i continue this i am becoming more and more tuned into it: so if i have ANY arabic passage in front of me with its translation then in a short while i'll have its gist and meanings of most words committed to memory. Now if those words appear anywhere else i can string 'em together and the passage will reveal its gist to me easily: although i know nothing of the underlying grammar or language construct!

  13. nurideen

    nurideen New Member


    This is my first post on these forums but I am a regular reader. But I would like to maybe provoke interest to a neglected(I feel) part of the site, and that is the arabic studies section. I feel this is one of the main failings of ahlusunnah in recent years and other groups have taken advantage of this, by appearing to be more scholarly and deen-centric by providing courses and publications on the arabic language. I hope inshallah we can maybe give some guidance to others looking to study and provide advice on how to study the language and progress.
    Alhamdulilah I have been self studying for the last year/year and a half and unfortunately dont have access to any scholars or teachers, but that gave me the opportunity to test out many methods and books in the field.
    So if there's any willingness on the part of the more learned brothers, and interest from those wanting to learn id be happy to help.


Share This Page